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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Passaic PD vs Passaic Hatzolah

Passaic City officials and the director of a Jewish ambulance service are addressing new tensions that have erupted following a clash with police who attempted to tow an ambulance this week. On Sunday, resident David Kaplan, 25, who founded the local branch of Hatzolah, an international ambulance corps staffed by volunteers in many Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, confronted police who had ticketed an ambulance parked the wrong way on Reid Avenue. The site is around the corner from Hatzolah headquarters at 243 Van Houten Ave. A group of people congregated in front of the ambulance about 11 a.m. as five police cars and a tow truck arrived at the scene, Kaplan said. The tow-truck operator was unable to move the ambulance because of its size, he said.

Hah. Whaddya wanna bet the cops called the tow truck guy to the scene and the tow truck guy made up some excuse so he wouldn't have to tow a freaking ambulance, because people need ambulances to not die.

Mayor Samuel Rivera said he was on the scene Sunday and thought the ambulance volunteers acted "belligerently" and that perhaps police responded too harshly.

I'd be belligerent too, if someone was trying to tow my piece of vital lifesaving equipment. And, perhaps, the police responded too harshly? If the cops would have summarily executed everyone at the scene and set the ambulance on fire as a warning to others, that would have been way out of line, but just confiscating a volunteer medical unit is, maybe, a little too harsh. Depending on your perspective, of course.

"They were going to be towed because they were parked in a dangerous position," Rivera said.

That dangerous position: parked the wrong way on a one way street, which is something everybody does, even people not driving emergency response vehicles.

Rivera said he met Monday with Kaplan and Paton to try to resolve friction between police and the volunteers. "I'm trying to work with them. My goal is for them to work with our [the city's] EMS," Rivera said, adding that part of the frustration with Hatzolah goes back more than two years.

Which sure sounds like an unbiased statement to me.

In addition, the city has offered Hatzolah use of city EMS headquarters to park Hatzolah's ambulances, but Hatzolah has rejected the city's offer, Rivera said. "They say they like to have ambulances parked closer to the Jewish community," Rivera said.

How dare those uppity Jews want to park their ambulance close to where it's needed! The gall!


Link here.